Honors students donate book drive contributions

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Students in the Honors Leadership and Development class hosted a book drive at Volunteer State Community College on Monday, Feb. 15 – Friday, Feb. 26.

Donations were taken to Safe Haven, a Nashville-based shelter-to-housing program whose official mission is empowering Middle Tennessee homeless families with children to achieve lasting self-sufficiency, said Christopher Keller, Community Relations Manager.

The project was put together by Shannon Feaganes, Victoria Anderson, Kyle Homer, and Jenny Hernandez, students of the leadership class.

“Over 200 books were donated. It was much more than we expected,” said Hernandez.

“Honestly, we expected around 50 books. It was amazing to have students, faculty, and staff contribute to our book drive,” she said.

Keller said that he was impressed at how hands-on the students in the leadership class were.

“They took care of the details with little help from us, which was great,” Keller said.

Keller’s role is to coordinate volunteer activities that happen daily at the shelter and meet families’ basic needs. This includes finding volunteers to provide dinners, staffing after school programs and special events.

Additionally, he coordinates many community events such as the book drive.

“We were overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of the donation,” Keller said.

He went on to say that all residents at Safe Haven, including children and parents, will have access to the books.

“We have a library here and we actually let residents keep any books they are interested in,” said Keller.

He said that this encourages a love for reading and is helpful for families to begin to read together.

“Reading is also a great way for families to relax and have quality time and escape from the day-to-day pressures of life,” Keller said.

In addition to books donated from faculty and students, Hernandez said that Guild Elementary School donated the majority of children’s books the drive received.

She said that the book drive is a great way to make a difference in the local community.

“This could definitely become an annual event. I would love to pass on the torch of this responsibility to another group of students,” said Hernandez.

Keller said that he is looking forward to working with students from Vol State in the future. He encouraged any students interested in volunteering in Safe Haven’s children’s program as a tutor or enrichment volunteer to visit safehaven.org for more information.

“I humbly enjoyed making a positive difference and promoting education for Safe Haven,” Hernandez said.